Selling your parents’ home is an emotional experience, especially if it’s the house you were raised in. The last thing you want is for the sale to drag on for months, costing you time, money, and energy. However, if you don’t prepare the house for sale, it will be hard to attract interested buyers who are willing to pay full asking price. For a speedy and successful sale when parting with your parents’ home, follow this five-step home preparation checklist.
1. Make Repairs
Even a well-maintained home accrues minor damage over the years. Avoid giving buyers the impression of a poorly kept home by repairing damage before listing. Survey the house room-by-room, taking note of problems such as loose handles, gouged trim, crumbling grout, and other issues that are easy to fix. Not only are such repairs possible to repair yourself (check out The Budget Decorator’s how-to guide), but also doing so will increase the resale value of your parents’ home.
For major problems such as roof replacement or foundation repairs, talk to your real estate agent before paying for repairs. Your agent can help you determine whether investing in repairs before selling is the right choice.
2. Update the Interior Design
If your parents’ home reflects the taste of a bygone area, it’s smart to update it before you list. A home that’s decorated in accordance with contemporary tastes will appeal to a wider range of buyers and may net a higher price.
Updating outdated décor doesn’t have to be costly. You can make a significant difference in the home’s perceived age by updating dated design trends including the ones named by Homes to Love.
3. Eliminate Clutter
Many homeowners are shocked by how bare their home looks when it’s staged to sell. However, clutter is a big turnoff for buyers because it creates the impression of a cramped home. Reducing the amount of furniture, décor and personal knickknacks increases visual square footage so the home looks open and spacious.
Keep enough furniture in the home to define the purpose of each space, but eliminate anything superfluous. You should also clear surfaces like kitchen counters and shelves and reduce items stored in closets and cabinets. This is a good opportunity to start deciding what of your parents’ items will be donated, sold or kept. Items you’re keeping should be kept off-site in a storage unit, which can be relatively inexpensive compared to dropping your asking price — and it’s not forever. For example, the overall average monthly cost of a unit runs around $174.65 in the Santa Ana, California, area.
4. Improve the Landscaping
The landscaping is another area where a little bit of effort pays off big. Garden beds should be edged, mulched and weeded, and new plants installed to fill gaps. Shrubs should be pruned, walkways patched, and the lawn neatly manicured. If you want to go above and beyond, consider installing a new mailbox, house numbers (for as little as $8.59 apiece) and front porch light fixtures. A good first impression goes a long way.
5. Clean the Interior and Exterior
The last thing to do before showing your parents’ home to interested buyers is to deep clean inside and out. Set aside two or three weekends to deep clean the interior, including big tasks like cleaning carpets, washing walls and cleaning behind appliances. Even if your parents were exceptionally tidy, dirt and grime inevitably accumulate around a home. Consider hiring a cleaning service if your time is limited.
After the interior is clean, turn your eyes to the exterior. You’ll want to wash the siding, gutters, windows, driveway, deck and exterior air conditioning unit to ensure a great impression.
Selling your own home is challenging enough. When you’re charged with getting another person’s home ready to sell, you’re bound to encounter unexpected jobs around the way. Give yourself plenty of time to get your parents’ home ready to sell so you can give the family home the send-off it deserves.